Your business will sometimes receive negative reviews, but that doesn’t have to mean disaster. Negative feedback is an opportunity to improve your business and re-engage your customers. It can even have a positive impact on other reviewers of your business. Here’s how to turn negative feedback into an opportunity:

Improve your product
Customer complaints sometimes identify aspects and features users want to see. For example, some customers might complain that your software operates too slowly or doesn’t integrate well with their other business applications. Instead of giving up because these individuals seemingly can’t be helped, your business should try and implement at least some of these ideas. Support teams can analyze tickets for common requests and provide this information to developers. An instance of bad feedback could easily be the launch pad for your next product or update.

In fact, businesses can take instances of negative feedback to open up a conversation with all of their customers. They can use the comment as a starting point to see what customers want or expect from your solution.

Assess your support team
If your business constantly receives similar complaints about the customer support it provides, it’s likely your agents aren’t handling situations properly. This is a chance to come together as a team and discuss the best ways to handle customer support issues.

Sometimes, customers have a complaint about an individual member of your support team. If the feedback you receive points to a particular agent, have a private chat with him or her about what happened and how he or she can improve.

Negative feedback can also be a tool for training. One of the best ways to teach a person is to provide a real-life example. This is where direct cases of negative feedback become an asset, not an embarrassment. Show support reps real customer complaints and explain the proper way to handle the issue. You can also show new agents an example of a coworker who handled negative feedback particularly well.

Improve the credibility of positive reviews
Businesses dream of a perfect world where all their reviews are positive, but this idea actually has the opposite effect. HubSpot cited research by Reevoo that found 95 percent of customers become suspicious when they can’t find even one negative review. They suspect the comments are fake or written by the company itself, or that the business has gone through the trouble of deleting negative reviews to avoid appearing in a bad light. Essentially, negative feedback makes the positive reviews seem more credible, and customers are more willing to believe they come from independent parties.

Engage customers
Your support team should be quick to respond when it discovers negative feedback, as doing so can get customers re-engaged with your business and increase their satisfaction. This is a chance for agents to turn a bad experience into something constructive and show your business is committed to quality customer support.

This idea extends to public feedback as well – not just comments received through email or phone calls. According to the State of Customer Service Experience – a report from the North Ridge Group – 22 percent of customers use social media to share negative experiences with a business. Many companies fear these public comments because of their ability to go viral, but negative online feedback is an opportunity for your business to publicly display how it prioritizes customer support. Responding to criticism in the view of others and in a timely fashion indicates to prospective customers that they’ll be treated with the same respect if they were to use your product or services.

No one wants a bad comment, but receiving criticism from customers is a fact of business. Instead of avoiding negative feedback, businesses should take it as an opportunity to improve their services and their relationship with their customers.